Deuteronomy 2-4 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
2 1 We spent many years wandering around outside the hill country of Seir,[a] 2 until the Lord said:
Moses, 3 Israel has wandered in these hills long enough. Turn and go north. 4 And give the people these orders: “Be very careful, because you will soon go through the land that belongs to your relatives, the descendants of Esau.[b] They are afraid of you, 5 but don’t start a war with them. I have given them the hill country of Seir, so I won’t give any of it to you, not even enough to set a foot on. 6 And as you go through their land, you will have to buy food and water from them.”
7 The Lord has helped us and taken care of us during the past forty years that we have been in this huge desert. We’ve had everything we needed, and the Lord has blessed us and made us successful in whatever we have done.
8 We went past the territory that belonged to our relatives, the descendants of Esau.[c] We followed Arabah Road that starts in the south at Elath and Ezion-Geber, then we turned onto the desert road that leads to Moab.
Tribes That Lived near Canaan
10 Before the Lord gave the Moabites their land, a large and powerful tribe lived there. They were the Emim, and they were as tall as the Anakim. 11 The Moabites called them Emim, though others sometimes used the name Rephaim[f] for both the Anakim and the Emim.
12 The Horites used to live in Seir, but the Edomites[g] took over that region. They killed many of the Horites and forced the rest of them to leave, just as Israel did to the people in the land that the Lord gave them.
Israel Crossed the Zered Gorge
Moses said to Israel:
13 When we came to the Zered Gorge along the southern border of Moab, the Lord told us to cross the gorge into Moab, and we did. 14 This was thirty-eight years after we left Kadesh-Barnea, and by that time all the men who had been in the army at Kadesh-Barnea had died, just as the Lord had said they would. 15-16 The Lord kept getting rid of[h] them until finally none of them were left.
17 Then the Lord told me, 18 “Moses, now go past the town of Ar and cross Moab’s northern border 19 into Ammon. But don’t start a war with the Ammonites. I gave them[i] their land, and I won’t give any of it to Israel.”
More Nations That Lived near Canaan
20 Before the Ammonites conquered the land that the Lord had given them, some of the Rephaim used to live there, although the Ammonites called them Zamzummim. 21 The Zamzummim were a large and powerful tribe and were as tall as the Anakim.[j] But the Lord helped the Ammonites, and they killed many of the Zamzummim and forced the rest to leave. Then the Ammonites settled there. 22 The Lord helped them as he had helped the Edomites,[k] who killed many of the Horites in Seir and forced the rest to leave before settling there themselves.
23 A group called the Avvim used to live in villages as far south as Gaza, but the Philistines[l] killed them and settled on their land.
Israel Crossed the Arnon Gorge
24 After we went through Ammon, the Lord told us:
Israel, pack up your possessions, take down your tents, and cross the Arnon River gorge.[m] The territory of the Amorite King Sihon of Heshbon lies on the other side of the river, but I now give you his land. So attack and take it! 25 Today I will start making all other nations afraid of you. They will tremble with fear when anyone mentions you, and they will be terrified when you show up.
The Defeat of King Sihon of Heshbon
Moses said to Israel:
26 After we had crossed the Arnon and had set up camp in the Kedemoth Desert, I sent messengers to King Sihon of Heshbon, telling him that his nation and ours could be at peace. I said:
27 Please let Israel go across your country. We will walk straight through, without turning off the road. 28-29 You can even sell us food and water, and we will pay with silver. We need to reach the Jordan River and cross it, because the Lord our God is giving us the land on the west side. The Edomites and Moabites[n] have already let us cross their land. Please let us cross your land as well.
30-31 But Sihon refused to let us go across his country, because the Lord made him stubborn and eager to fight us. The Lord told me, “I am going to help you defeat Sihon and take his land, so attack him!”
32 We met Sihon and his army in battle at Jahaz, 33 and the Lord our God helped us defeat them. We killed Sihon, his sons, and everyone else in his army. 34 Then we captured and destroyed every town in Sihon’s kingdom, killing everyone, 35 but keeping the livestock and everything else of value. 36 The Lord helped us capture every town from the Arnon River gorge north to the boundary of Gilead, including the town of Aroer on the edge of the gorge and the town in the middle of the gorge.
37 However, we stayed away from all the Ammonite towns, both in the hill country and near the Jabbok River, just as the Lord had commanded.
The Defeat of King Og of Bashan
Moses said to Israel:
3 When we turned onto the road that leads to Bashan, King Og of Bashan led out his whole army to fight us at Edrei. 2 But the Lord told me, “Moses, don’t be afraid of King Og. I am going to help you defeat him and his army and take over his land. Destroy him and his people, just as you did with the Amorite King Sihon of Heshbon.”
3-6 The Lord our God helped us destroy Og and his army and conquer his entire kingdom of Bashan, including the Argob region. His kingdom had lots of villages and sixty towns with high walls and gates that locked with bars. We completely destroyed[o] them all, killing everyone, 7 but keeping the livestock and everything else of value.
8 Sihon and Og had ruled Amorite kingdoms east of the Jordan River. Their land stretched from the Arnon River gorge in the south to Mount Hermon in the north, and we captured it all. 9 Mount Hermon is called Mount Sirion by the people of Sidon, and it is called Mount Senir by the Amorites. 10 We captured all the towns in the highlands, all of Gilead, and all of Bashan as far as Salecah and Edrei, two of the towns that Og had ruled.
The Land East of the Jordan River Is Divided
Moses said to Israel:
12-17 I gave some of the land and towns we captured to the tribes of Reuben and Gad. Their share started at the Arnon River gorge in the south, took in the town of Aroer on the edge of the gorge, and went far enough north to include the southern half of the Gilead region. The northern part of their land went as far east as the upper Jabbok River gorge, which formed their border with the Ammonites.[s] I also gave them the eastern side of the Jordan River valley, from Lake Galilee[t] south to the Dead Sea[u] below the slopes of Mount Pisgah.
I gave the northern half of Gilead and all of the Bashan region to half the tribe of Manasseh.[v] Bashan had belonged to King Og, and the Argob region in Bashan used to be called the Land of the Rephaim. Jair from the Manasseh tribe conquered the Argob region as far west as the kingdoms of Geshur and Maacah. The Israelites even started calling Bashan by the name “Villages of Jair,”[w] and that is still its name. I gave the northern half of Gilead to the Machir clan.[x]
18-19 At that time I told the men of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh:
The Lord our God told me to give you this land with its towns, and that’s what I have done. Now your wives and children can stay here with your large flocks of sheep and goats and your large herds of cattle. But all of you men that can serve in our army must cross the Jordan River and help the other tribes, because they are your relatives. 20 The Lord will let them defeat the enemy nations on the west side of the Jordan and take their land. Afterwards, you can come back here to the land I gave you.
21-22 Then I told Joshua, “You saw how the Lord our God helped us destroy King Sihon and King Og. So don’t be afraid! Wherever you go, the Lord will fight on your side and help you destroy your enemies.”
God Refused To Let Moses Enter Canaan
Moses said to Israel:
23 At that time I prayed and begged, 24 “Our Lord, it seems that you have just begun to show me your great power. No other god in the sky or on earth is able to do the mighty things that you do. 25 The land west of the Jordan is such good land. Please let me cross the Jordan and see the hills and the Lebanon Mountains.”
26 But the Lord was angry with me because of you people,[y] and he refused to listen. “That’s enough!” he said. “I don’t want to hear any more. 27 Climb to the top of Mount Pisgah and look north, south, east, and west. Take a good look, but you are not going to cross the Jordan River. 28 Joshua will lead Israel across the Jordan to take the land, so help him be strong and brave and tell him what he must do.”
29 After this we stayed in the valley at Beth-Peor.
Israel Must Obey God
4 Israel, listen to these laws and teachings! If you obey them, you will live, and you will go in and take the land that the Lord is giving you. He is the God your ancestors worshiped, 2 and now he is your God. I am telling you everything he has commanded, so don’t add anything or take anything away.
3 You saw how he killed everyone who worshiped the god Baal Peor.[z] 4 But all of you that were faithful to the Lord your God are still alive today.
5-8 No other nation has laws that are as fair as the ones the Lord my God told me to give you. If you faithfully obey them when you enter the land, you will show other nations how wise you are. In fact, everyone that hears about your laws will say, “That great nation certainly is wise!” And what makes us greater than other nations? We have a God who is close to us and answers our prayers.
9 You must be very careful not to forget the things you have seen God do for you. Keep reminding yourselves, and tell your children and grandchildren as well. 10 Do you remember the day you stood in the Lord’s presence at Mount Sinai?[aa] The Lord said, “Moses, bring the people of Israel here. I want to speak to them so they will obey me as long as they live, and so they will teach their children to obey me too.”
11 Mount Sinai[ab] was surrounded by deep dark clouds, and fire went up to the sky. You came to the foot of the mountain, 12 and the Lord spoke to you from the fire. You could hear him and understand what he was saying, but you couldn’t see him. 13 The Lord said he was making an agreement with you, and he told you that your part of the agreement is to obey the Ten Commandments. Then the Lord wrote these Commandments on two flat stones.
14 That’s when the Lord commanded me to give you the laws and teachings you must obey in the land that you will conquer west of the Jordan River.
Don’t Worship Idols
Moses said to Israel:
15 When God spoke to you from the fire, he was invisible. So be careful 16 not to commit the sin of worshiping idols. Don’t make idols to be worshiped, whether they are shaped like men, women, 17 animals, birds, 18 reptiles, or fish. 19 And when you see the sun or moon or stars, don’t be tempted to bow down and worship them. The Lord put them there for all the other nations to worship. 20 But you are the Lord’s people, because he led you through fiery trials and rescued you from Egypt.
21 The Lord was angry at me because of what you said,[ac] and he told me that he would not let me cross the Jordan River into the good land that he is giving you.[ad] 22 So I must stay here and die on this side of the Jordan, but you will cross the river and take the land.
23 Always remember the agreement that the Lord your God made with you, and don’t make an idol in any shape or form. 24 The Lord will be angry if you worship other gods, and he can be like a fire destroying everything in its path.
25-26 Soon you will cross the Jordan River and settle down in the land. Then in the years to come, you will have children, and they will give you grandchildren. After many years, you might lose your sense of right and wrong and make idols, even though the Lord your God hates them. So I am giving you fair warning today, and I call the earth and the sky as witnesses. If you ever make idols, the Lord will be angry, and you won’t have long to live, because the Lord will let you be wiped out. 27 Only a few of you will survive, and the Lord will force you to leave the land and will scatter you among the nations. 28 There you will have to worship gods made of wood and stone, and these are nothing but idols that can’t see or hear or eat or smell.
29-30 In all of your troubles, you may finally decide that you want to worship only the Lord. And if you turn back to him and obey him completely, he will again be your God. 31 The Lord your God will have mercy—he won’t destroy you or desert you. The Lord will remember his promise, and he will keep the agreement he made with your ancestors.
32-34 When the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt, you saw how he fought for you and showed his great power by performing terrifying miracles. You became his people, and at Mount Sinai you heard him talking to you out of fiery flames. And yet you are still alive! Has anything like this ever happened since the time God created humans? No matter where you go or who you ask, you will get the same answer. No one has ever heard of another god even trying to do such things as the Lord your God has done for you.
35-36 The Lord wants you to know he is the only true God, and he wants you to obey him. That’s why he let you see his mighty miracles and his fierce fire on earth, and why you heard his voice from that fire and from the sky.
37 The Lord loved your ancestors and decided that you would be his people. So the Lord used his great power to bring you out of Egypt. 38 Now you face other nations more powerful than you are, but the Lord has already started forcing them out of their land and giving it to you.
39 So remember that the Lord is the only true God, whether in the sky above or on the earth below. 40 Today I am explaining his laws and teachings. And if you always obey them, you and your descendants will live long and be successful in the land the Lord is giving you.
41-43 Moses said, “People of Israel, you must set aside the following three towns east of the Jordan River as Safe Towns: Bezer in the desert highlands belonging to the Reuben tribe; Ramoth in Gilead, belonging to the Gad tribe; and Golan in Bashan, belonging to the Manasseh tribe. If you kill a neighbor without meaning to, and if you had not been angry with that person, you can run to one of these towns and find safety.”[ae]
THE SECOND SPEECH: MOSES TELLS WHAT THE Lord DEMANDS
Israel at Beth-Peor
44-46 The Israelites had come from Egypt and were camped east of the Jordan River near Beth-Peor, when Moses gave these laws and teachings. The land around their camp had once belonged to King Sihon of Heshbon. But Moses and the Israelites defeated him 47 and King Og of Bashan, and took their lands. These two Amorite kings had ruled the territory east of the Jordan River 48 from the town of Aroer on the edge of the Arnon River gorge, north to Mount Hermon.[af] 49 Their land included the eastern side of the Jordan River valley, as far south as the Dead Sea[ag] below the slopes of Mount Pisgah.
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